Follow the Way
Welcome to 99 – a journey
Each episode of 99 is one step on a pilgrimage into yourself.
Over the next 9 minutes or so, I invite you to slow down and invest in YOU.
Whether this feels like refuge, or an invitation, and whether you’re here for just this part – or the whole journey, know that you are an honored guest.
To get started, let’s take a minute to fully arrive. Here. Now.
I’m going to invite to take 2 breaths together with me so we can both settle into this experience.
From way down in your belly, let’s inhale for a count of 4, hold for 3, then exhale for 7. Ready?
Inhale 2 3 4
Hold 2 3
Exhale 2 3 4 5 6 7
Today’s topic is The Way, or The Path. The path to what? You might ask?
Over the ages, people (like you) have thought of this in lots of different ways. Maybe it’s the path to God, or to Truth with a capital T. Enlightenment. Universal Love or Peace or Divine Mother.
Whatever your destination, the thing about paths is that they involve a journey. To me, a universal truth is that this kind of path always leads to something that transcends little me.
If I’m like a drop of rain falling from the sky, what is my destination? Does it matter? Or is it more about the journey itself?
I remember some years ago, when I was at a birthday party for a friend of my daughter. The rest of the kids were off doing what kids do at birthday parties, and I wandered away from the noise to take a little break. I ended up sitting in the living room hanging out with young boy – probably 4 or 5 years old. I’ll call him Ditto. Ditto was playing with a little action figure and kept asking me – “do you know how big this is?”
Children often stump me with questions like this, so I held up my thumb and forefinger to pretend-measure the doll and said, “is it four inches?”
Laughing at my naiveté, he said, “no silly…. BIGGER”
And on we went. I ran out of units of measure at light years, but Ditto just chuckled at my paltry imagination. Like a kitten with a ball of twine, Ditto found my “grown up” limitations mildly amusing – for a little while anyway. He finally got tired of me and returned to the richer world I was incapable of visiting with him.
I took my bruised ego to have cake & ice cream.
What Ditto was trying to teach me is still hard to describe. His lesson was essentially that one word… BIGGER!
It was a riddle and a mantra, and a kōan… it was equal parts directions and map.
Sometimes when I’m feeling small…. Or lost or trapped, I think about Ditto. I firmly believe that teachers show up in all shapes and sizes – that it’s up to us to recognize them and receive their lesson.
What Ditto was trying to teach me, I think, was to wake up. Wake up to the reality that I’m part of something unimaginably vast. As the astronomer and scientist Carl Sagan said, “We are made of star stuff.”
Now that’s a great sound byte, cosmic connection and all. In the Hebrew Scripture that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all share, God took this star-stuff and gave it life. One of the stories from the oldest Vedas of Hinduism says that “Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. With no distinguishing sign, all this was water. The life force was covered with emptiness. That One arose with the power of heat.”
Whatever you believe – or don’t – it’s time for a reality check though.
Come on, all this is great, but how does it help me put my pants on in the morning? Or feed my family? Or help me deal with the raw deal that life keeps handing me?
Sometimes, I feel like it’s just me against the world. I’m supposed to be ten feet tall and invincible. Remember that show from the 70’s – the six-million-dollar man? I feel like we’re all supposed to be like that… faster, stronger, smarter.
Every once in a while, I feel like I’m almost there…. things are going according to plan…. I’m on the brink of finally having everything JUST RIGHT, the Universe laughs and says, aaaa aaa aaahh…. “not so fast” and hits the reset button.
Those are the times it helps to remember the path. When I think things are just about right, they change. My favorite season, fall, turns to winter. My favorite hangout isn’t as much fun anymore because the same friends moved away or don’t come anymore.
I think that life is a bout always traveling the way to something bigger. Like that raindrop falling from the sky. It’ll pause along the way to water a flower, or splash laughing children in a pool. It’ll eventually lose itself in an ocean. Is it a drop? Is it part of an ocean?
I wonder what Ditto would say.
Sometimes, it’s good to be a drop of water. But when you’re feeling small, raindrop, remember.
Remember. You’re on a journey. You’re part of a story. Will you embrace your role? Or will you stay small?
You are connected. Both drop and ocean.
Take your awareness beyond yourself to the infinite. And then go BIGGER. Got it? Bigger again!
Follow the path. To the ocean without a shore…
Let’s end our time by taking 2 breaths together once again.
We’ll breathe in for 7, hold for 3, exhale for 4.
Inhale 2 3 4 5 6 7
Hold 2 3
Exhale 2 3 4
Inhale 2 3 4 5 6 7
Hold 2 3
Exhale 2 3 4
Go out into the world in peace and have courage
Hold on to what is good.
Return to no person evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted
Support the weak.
Help the suffering.
Honor all beings – including yourself.